Separating the Wheat from the Chaff?

Markets and Concentration in the Rural Area
Employers’ Organisations in the Milling Industry in Northern France (1914-1987)
By Stéphane Lembré

The milling industry underwent major transformations in the 20th century. Under the effect of technological changes initiated at the end of the 19th century, small employers were brought face to face with the managers of large milling groups. These employers faced the instability of the wheat, flour and bread markets. This situation required the organisation of markets. Based on a case study of the Chambre syndicale des meuniers du Nord de la France (The Millers Union of Northern France), the possibility for a profession to manage the transition from more than 300 mills in 1913 to fifteen in 1980 challenged the constant dynamics of the employers’ organisation. Between freedom and protection, quotas and resorption decided in 1935 opened a decisive period in the broader process of industrial concentration.

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